In Sidama, the garden coffee production system is
widely practiced. Coffee is grown near homesteads and is planted
at low densities, ranging from 1,000 to 1,800 plants per hectare. Most
garden coffee is fertilized with organic nutrients.
Harvesting and Processing
Depending on altitudinal variation and
rainfall distribution, the harvesting period varies from September to
December. Harvesting is mostly done by family labor. Freshly
hand-picked cherries are sorted before pulping and are sold to the primary
cooperatives for wet processing.
Fresh clean cherries arriving at pulperies
are pulped and allowed to ferment naturally. The fermented coffee
is washed with clean running water, soaked in clean water and then dried
to retain about 11.5 percent moisture.
Dried parchments (washed and dried coffee
with husks) are stored in a warehouse until delivery to the Union in Addis Ababa. The husk is removed and the clean beans are
packaged in labeled bags (60 kg / 132 lbs) for export.
At each stage, coffee quality is ensured
though an integrated quality control system. Red cherries
delivered to the washing stations are inspected. Only those beans
that meet the exacting export standards and have verified origin
characteristics are allowed to be exported.